Ferrari - Middle Mann

Decades-long passion projects of estabilished filmmakers are often a dangerous ground: Terry Gilliams' The Man who Killed Don Quixote is a flawed example, Martin Scorsese's Silence is arguably one of his greatest works. Other than the dedication of their auteurs, the production hell that lasted decades, what these films have in common with Michael Mann's own dream film Ferrari is Adam Driver's presence in the cast. The film, however, is arguably closer in execution to Gilliam than to Scorsese.

Michael Mann lowers the gear to present a glimpse in the life of Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the famous sports car manifacturer: grieving over a deceased son, with a company close to failure, a marriage that is broken and a son from an illicit affair,  the icon of luxury is facing considerable challenges. The pace is far from the intensity of Ali or of Mann's best films, it definitely does not match the speed of the racing cars it depicts, which allows the characters to breathe and the actors performances to intensify, but that also may feel overly tedious.

Ferrari sadly commits the same error that House of Gucci did in its rather stereotypical representation of italian identity, which expands beyond the distracting and slightly degrading pseudo-italian accents. the usual tropes that the anglophone culture associates to italianity, such as the excessive emotivity, the admiration for opera as an emotional centerpiece, the submissive greetings of commoners to Enzo that get fearfully close to depicting him as a sort of Don are symptoms of the depiction of italian identity that seems problematic at best.  

Aside from this major issue, Ferrari is a competent film, tehcnically speaking. It is most definitely far from Michael Mann's worst film, but equally distant from his best works. Particularly in the Millemiglia race scene, Mann directs some of the visually most stunning works of his career. Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz in particular bring to the screen incredible performances. Ferrari, even with its flaws, does prove that the filmmaker's grip, despite the slight mishaps of Miami Vice and Blackhat, is still intact.


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